Bahama Times

Monday, Feb 26, 2024

'Twitter Files' allege prominent right-wing figures were 'blacklisted'

'Twitter Files' allege prominent right-wing figures were 'blacklisted'

The Twitter Files, which appear to come directly from Elon Musk, feature detailed internal documents from the previous regime at Twitter, including internal messages and screenshots of administrator tools.

Twitter has been accused of secretly "blacklisting" prominent right-wing figures in the US in order to ensure they reached a smaller audience.

High-profile right-wing individuals - such as talk show host Dan Bongino, conservative activist Charlie Kirk and anti-lockdown campaigner Dr Jay Bhattacharya - were apparently demoted by Twitter staff before it was taken over by Elon Musk.

The "blacklists", which limited the visibility of accounts or prevented them from being featured in Twitter's list of trending topics, have been revealed as part of the so-called Twitter Files.

The Twitter Files, which appear to come directly from Musk, feature detailed internal documents from the previous regime at Twitter, including internal messages and screenshots of administrator tools.

They have been shared with a group of right-wing journalists who share Musk's views on free speech.

The controversial billionaire has described himself as a "free speech absolutist" fighting against a "woke mind-virus".


Elon Musk bought Twitter in October

How were right-wing figures 'blacklisted'?


The documents suggest Stanford's Dr Bhattacharya, one of a group of academics who argued 1COVID1-19 should be allowed to spread in order to develop herd immunity, was secretly placed on a "trends blacklist", which prevented his tweets from trending.

Right-wing talk show host Bongino was put on a "search blacklist," meaning his tweets would not appear in search results.

According to the report, which was published on Twitter, this practice was known internally at the company as "visibility filtering".

"Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It's a very powerful tool," one senior Twitter employee told Bari Weiss, one of a group of journalists given wide-ranging access to Twitter's internal documentation.

Another Twitter engineer said: "We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do."

Twitter had always denied secretly demoting certain accounts, a practice sometimes known as shadow banning.

In 2018, the site's head of legal policy and trust and head of product wrote a blog saying "we do not shadow ban".

"And we certainly don't shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology," they added.

However, the company openly acknowledged reducing the visibility of tweets in search and trending topics.

It also ranked tweets, a practice which included demoting "tweets from bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or divide the conversation", a habit the blog implied was more common among right-wing figures.

How do other platforms operate?


The practice of "blacklisting" and "whitelisting" certain users is commonplace in social media and other internet businesses such as Google or YouTube, where they are used to make sure sites surface the most relevant content.

Indeed, Musk suggested that, under his control, Twitter would use a similar technique, promoting useful tweets and demoting "negative/hate" ones.

Yet, questions have been raised about the arbitrary way these demotions and promotions are carried out.

Just this week, the board which investigates Meta found celebrities, politicians and commercial partners were being given extra leeway to break the rules on Instagram and Facebook, a practice it described as causing "real harm".

"I hope (perhaps naively) that Musk has now set a precedent for greater transparency for future Twitter moderation and even moderation elsewhere on other platforms and news media," said Charlie Beckett, professor of media and communications at the London School of Economics.

Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey


'Make everything public now'


However, although the Twitter Files purport to shed a light on this murky practice, they have been criticised for offering a partial, politically-motivated view of the real picture inside the company, designed to paint a favourable picture of Musk.

"If the goal is transparency to build trust, why not just release everything without filter and let people judge for themselves? Including all discussions around current and future actions? Make everything public now," former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey complained to Musk on Twitter.

Musk has promised that further revelations will be coming soon.

"Most important data was hidden (from you too) and some may have been deleted," he replied to Mr Dorsey, "but everything we find will be released".

Newsletter

Related Articles

Bahama Times
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×